Ubiquiti EdgeMAX / EdgeOS local DNS

Ubiquiti makes nice routers with good firmware. But one missing feature; it doesn’t generate local hostnames in DNS for clients on DHCP. Ie, my Linux server registers itself with the name “gvl”. But I can’t then “ssh gvl” on my network because gvl isn’t a valid DNS name, not even in the Ubiquiti.

The right solution for this is to enable dnsmasq to be your DHCP server. dnsmasq is already running as a DNS server in the router; all this does is let it also be the DHCP server. As a side effect you now have nice DNS service. The downside here is it requires some slight tomfoolery to enable and then you end up with a less-than-standard router. See the discussion here.

Another possible solution is to enable the “hostfile-update” option. This tells the stock DHCP server to write entries in /etc/hosts. There’s some possible bugs with this.

The hacky solution for this is to leave DHCP alone and just create a static IP address and DNS name for your host. I’m too lazy to post screenshots, but basically…

  1. Boot your DHCP client that you want to give a DNS name to. Let it take an automatic address.
  2. In the web GUI for the router, go to Services / DHCP Server. Click the little “Actions” dropdown button and select “View Leases”.
  3. Find your DHCP client and click “Map Static IP”. This computer (well, MAC address) will now get a static IP every time it boots.
  4. Go to Config Tree. Open system / static-host-mapping / host-name.
  5. Click “Add”. Type a hostname. Click update list.
  6. In the config tree look under host-name for your new name. Click it, then under “inet” add a field which is the IP address you set up in step 3.
  7. Click “Preview” to verify the config is right. It should be something like this. If it looks right, Apply it.
    set system static-host-mapping host-name gvl inet
  8. Test DNS on another system. dig @ gvl any

Steps 4-8 can also be done via the command line configurator, which is probably less clumsy than the config-tree GUI.

Now that I’ve typed all this out I think perhaps switching to dnsmasq for DHCP is the better solution. But this works as a one-off.